White Gets Senate Banking Nod to Be Next SEC Chief

Committee also backs Richard Cordray as CFPB director

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Mary Jo White (Photo: AP)Mary Jo White (left), President Barack Obama’s choice to be the next chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, sailed through her Senate Banking Committee confirmation Tuesday, with a vote of 21-1.

Her nomination now goes to the full Senate, where it is expected to be met with  little resistance. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, a member of the banking committee, cast the lone no vote on White’s nomination.

During her nomination hearing before the banking committee on March 12, White told lawmakers that, if confirmed, she would commit to review the comments the agency receives on its request issued March 1 for public data on the “potential regulatory costs to implement potential changes to fiduciary standards for broker/dealers and investment advisors” before writing a rule, as “this is an important area.”

The Financial Planning Coalition released a statement the same day, stating that “In light of her vow to make the American people her ‘client,’ Ms. White’s appointment would reaffirm the government’s commitment to greater investor protection at an especially critical time." The Coalition "looks forward to Ms. White’s confirmation by the full Senate in the coming days and to working with her as the SEC examines a uniform fiduciary standard, in particular, and addresses the need for more frequent investment adviser examinations.”

The same day, the banking committee approved a less enthusiastic party-line vote of 12-10 for Richard Cordray to be director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

His confirmation now moves to the full Senate, where its fate is less than certain.

Rachel Weintraub, legislative director and senior counsel at the Consumer Federation of America, said in a statement that with the vote to confirm Cordray, the Senate Committee “prioritized the interests of consumers.” Consumers, she said, “need a confirmed director at CFPB to make sure that the Bureau’s work to date is not compromised and that consumers can make decisions about their financial future knowing that consistent and predictable safeguards are in place.”

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